January 08, 2024

Tianjin, China Receives 2024 Sustainable Transport Award for Focus on Cycling and Walking Infrastructure


Tianjin is receiving the 2024 Sustainable Transport Award (STA) for the city’s commitment and efforts to promote greener, more inclusive non-motorized transport (NMT) with extensive street and infrastructure improvements.

Learn more about this year’s Sustainable Transport Award finalist cities.

This year, Tianjin is also joined by one honorable mention — the City of Peshawar, Pakistan, which was previously recognized in the 2022 STA program. Tianjin will receive the award in a live broadcast ceremony held on 7 February 2024, and the City will join in the STA’s Sustainable Transport Award Series programming throughout the year. This honor recognizes the cities’ progress over the past year in improving their transport and development models with policies that promote sustainability, accessibility, and inclusion. 

For 2024, the STA program recognizes Tianjin for the city’s collaborative efforts to expand non-motorized transport (NMT)  and street infrastructure that enhances walking and cycling connections to public transport. According to Climate Watch, China’s transport-related CO2 emissions alone account for 11% of all global transport-related emissions. As one of the country’s most populated cities, Tianjin is home to more than 13 million people and urgently needs to reshape its approach to mobility in order to address high emissions. Thus, the city’s recent investments into sustainable mobility policy and infrastructure have the potential to serve as a model for the rest of China as the nation works towards achieving carbon neutrality before 2060. 

Improvements to pedestrian and public spaces along the busy Hai River in Tianjin will help to promote more sustainability mobility.

One of the country’s most populated cities, Tianjin is home to more than 13 million people.

Over the past year, Tianjin has improved access to around 96 metro stations with enhancements to various walking, biking, and bus networks. This project implemented intersection improvements and connected facilities such as bike parking, bus terminals, green landscaping, and more. The city also developed a new bus terminal with off-street and vertical bus parking to serve up to seven bus routes. An impressive network of 190 roads totaling 132 kilometers also received streetscape improvements prioritizing walking and cycling connections. 

Improvements included pavement updates, drainage fixes, and the redesign of street layouts to better separate NMT modes from motor vehicles. Many facilities for more active mobility, including bike parking, sidewalk guardrails, and improved street lighting, were also implemented on several city roads. Nearly 216,000 square meters of bike lanes were repaved with polymer for clear separation, with 82.4 kilometers of rails installed to separate lanes.

The expansion of bikeshare systems in Tianjin help to make cycling more accessible to all. Image: TheCityAtEyeLevel.com

Nearly 216,000 square meters of bike lanes were repaved across the city as part of NMT improvements.

Over 605,000 square meters of pedestrian sidewalk networks were repaired or constructed, with more than 3,500 street-level trees and over 280 street lights newly installed. The significance of the project is immense – thus far, it is the most significant project supported by the World Bank (by USD$ value and quantity of infrastructure delivered) dedicated to improving streets for walking, cycling, public transport, and green space.  

So far, Tianjin’s impressive efforts have also influenced local and national policy. The learnings from the city’s studies, processes, and intervention in the past year and a half — notably under COVID-19 pandemic restrictions — have informed the design of national pedestrian and bicycle system planning standards. The impacts are also being seen in people’s commuting behaviors: the modal share for walking, biking, and public transport grew to more than 70% of the city’s total mode share in 2022. This helps support Tianjin’s aims of becoming a model for green urban development, especially as as other global cities work to reshape and rethink their car-focused environments. The STA program proudly recognize Tianjin as the 2024 STA winner for these commitments and visionary actions.

In addition to promoting public transport ridership, Peshawar has taken steps in the past year to convert its buses to modern, low-emission vehicles.

Tianjin is joined by one STA honorable mention this year: the City of Peshawar, Pakistan.

In the past year, the City of Peshawar and its transport authority TransPeshawar implemented an innovative Bus Industry Restructuring Program (BIRP), which involved off-boarding more than 500 outdated and fuel-intensive public transport vehicles and replacing them with clean technology vehicles to facilitate a smoother industry transition. The BIRP initiative is part of a broader effort in Peshawar to improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by focusing on road and passenger transport impacts.

Peshawar was previously recognized as an STA honorable mention in 2022 for their work on Zu Peshawar, the first Gold Standard BRT on the Indian Peninsula, which has placed a notable focus on providing access to marginalized communities, such as women, persons with disabilities, and children. Peshawar now aims to have fleets of fully electric buses that will cover 75% of the city, helping to reduce issues of chronic congestion and high emissions.

ITDP is eager to celebrate these cities’ achievements and collaborate with them for the 2024 STA Virtual Series in the upcoming year. ITDP would also like to extend its gratitude to the STA Committee and all those who submitted nominations for 2024.

View the 2023 STA Virtual Series honoring the winner Paris, France and our honorable mentions:

Stay up-to-date on upcoming STA programming and for more news on the next nomination period.


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